Washington July 18. 07.
We learn thro’ the channel of the newspapers that Govr. Claiborne having engaged in a duel has been dangerously wounded, and the Secretary having resigned his office the territory will in that event be left without any Executive head. it is not in my power immediately to make provision for this unfortunate & extraordinary state to which the territory may thus have been reduced, otherwise than by beseeching you to undertake the office of Secretary for a short time, until I can fill up the appointment. I well know that immersed in other business as you are, this will greatly embarras you, but I will not desire you to do any thing more than absolute necessity shall require, and even from that you shall be shortly relieved by the appointment of a successor. this request is made in the event of Govr. Claiborne’s wound having proved mortal. if he is alive, the commission need not be used. I shall be anxious to hear from you. in the mean time accept my friendly & respectful salutations.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.